Three ways voters can create change in the American system

Written by The Likely Voter

September 27, 2023

The rule of law is an important part of the success of any nation. In the case of the United States, having a written constitution is a testament to how seriously the nation respects the rule of law. At times, abiding by those laws can be inconvenient, especially if one feels frustrated with various outcomes of our political system. 

This raises the question: What are the productive ways voters can engage in creating change in processes they find unjust, in a manner that respects the rule of law? Below, we list three ways the American system has been set up to allow its populace to incorporate change. 

Interact directly with your representatives 

Americans have a unique ability to interact directly with their local and federal representatives. Should an issue arise, anyone can contact their federal, state or local representative and provide their input. With respectful and genuine communication, representatives will often take the input to heart and provide thoughtful consideration to the issue at hand. 

Vote representatives in or out 

Following efforts to work with one’s elected official, if no progress is made, voters can utilize the democratic process by working to elect representatives that will make efforts toward their policy goals. By volunteering or donating to the campaigns of individuals that align with one’s goals, a direct impact can be made to the electoral process. 

Collect signatures for ballot initiatives or referendums 

In some states, like Utah, there are initiatives and referendums that can be present on ballots and directly decided by the people of that state. An initiative or a referendum is useful in instances where voters seek to change or alter a single issue or law, rather than an entire process. A proposed initiative must get a specified number of supportive signatures from voters in 26 of the 29 state senate districts, along with a certain number of total signatures statewide, to qualify for the ballot. 


America’s Founders wanted the people to have a voice and be able to create change, but they intentionally made the process difficult and arduous. They wanted to prevent change that was based on fits of passion and heated moments and instead only allow for change that was thought out and deliberated on. The system in place provides that. Though it can be frustrating for some at times, as political expediency is forced to give way, it also protects others from politically driven decision making. Should a law or structure of the system need work, voters should feel confident in their ability to enact the changes they desire, should they be willing to work hard for it. 

For a more in-depth perspective on this article, read our Insights piece here.

Takeaways: the most important things voters need to know. For civically engaged citizens.  

  • The United States has a special reverence for the rule of law.
  • Americans should be mindful of how they handle times of political and societal unrest.
  • The Founders intentionally established ways for voters to create lasting change.

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